Kevin John Laurent, a well-known Riverina sporting identity who was laid to rest last Thursday, has been remembered as a larger-than-life gentleman and family man.
The former soldier, publican, businessman and rugby league fan died at the age of 90 on December 30 after a life of love and adventure.
The son of an ANZAC, Mr Laurent made a pilgrimage to Gallipoli in 2015 for the centenary service, hoping to learn more about what his father went through.
Almost 70 years earlier, he wore his own slouch hat as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, serving in Japan for four years after WWII.
After returning to Australia, he married Patricia, his wife of more than 60 years and fathered 11 children with her.
In 1954, Mr Laurent moved his young family from Narrandera to Temora, where he met Brian Hughes.
“You couldn’t get a nicer bloke,” Mr Hughes said.
“He was a gentleman’s gentleman.
“Kevin was very family-oriented and absolutely adored his seven boys and four girls.”
Mr Laurent would go on to establish a schoolboys’ rugby league club, serving as president while Mr Hughes served as secretary. His love of the sport led to a three-year stint as Group Nine treasurer, but he never got to see his biggest dream come true.
“He was a mad North Sydney Bears fan,” Mr Hughes said. “I saw him at his birthday party before he passed and he was still hoping they would get back into the NRL.”
Beyond rugby league, Mr Laurent and his wife owned galloper Ipso Facto with his son Rowan and former William Farrer Hotel licensee Geoff Perryman. He also managed the Wagga TAB for 25 years.
A devout Catholic, Mr Laurent’s funeral was held at San Isidore’s Our Lady Of The Blessed Eucharist Catholic Church before he was laid to rest at Wagga Lawn Cemetery.